The Note: Veep's Week

What else can a No. 2 do for him? "Now, Obama plunges back into the campaign at a pivotal moment, with the Democratic convention a week away and the announcement of his vice presidential nominee expected any day," Thomas Fitzgerald reports in the Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer. "The selection process has been free of serious leaks, just the way 'No Drama' Obama likes it, but Democratic strategists hope that whomever he picks will help him get his mojo back."

It's early -- but Obama does seem more aggressive since he got back from vacation. "Sunday, after praising the Arizona senator as a 'genuine American patriot,' the Democratic presidential hopeful got back to business -- methodically tearing into McCain's health care, tax and energy policies and criticizing his advisers," the AP's Beth Fouhy reports.

"Barack Obama returned to the campaign trail Sunday after a week off in Hawaii and argued that he is the presidential candidate who can fix the nation's economic woes, repeatedly slamming John McCain as a continuation of the Bush administration," Seema Mehta writes in the Los Angeles Times.

Per ABC's Andy Fies: "Could it be that he spent time during the vacation absorbing the catalogue of criticisms tossed at his campaign lately?  Much of his talk [Sunday] morning -– his first campaign event since his return -- appeared to be a point-by-point response to those arguing he has not forcefully battled McCain's more negative message," Fies writes. "Maybe on the beach in Hawaii, Obama woke up and smelled the fear."

Obama didn't bite when a questioner in Reno criticized McCain's war record: "Respectfully, I'm going to disagree with you when it comes to McCain and his service. I think his policies are terrible, I think his service was honorable," Obama said, per ABC's Jake Tapper.

He won't Swift boat any Swift boaters, either: ""He's got a lot longer track record'' than the 2004 campaign against Sen. John Kerry, Obama said of T. Boone Pickens, after a meeting with the oilman in Reno, per the Chicago Tribune's Mark Silva. "He's a legendary entrepreneur and one of the things that I think we have to unify the country around is having an intelligent energy policy.''

He sounds confident: "I will win. Don't worry about that," Obama said Sunday at one of three California fundraisers -- which raised him a cool $7.8 million.

An emerging convention message? "The Illinois senator said it is 'a testament to the American spirit that I'm even standing here before you' as the Democratic Party's presumed nominee, because some Americans are 'still getting past' his name, which he said some consider funny," Carla Marinucci reports in the San Francisco Chronicle.

The campaign is fighting -- just not always in a way that we can see it: "The Obama campaign has started running negative advertisements against Mr. McCain in battleground states -- often without announcing them beforehand. The reason, Obama aides say, is to try to convince voters that Mr. McCain is barely different than President Bush through a day or two of uncontested advertisements -- until the Republicans learn about them and begin to counter the ads," the Times' Patrick Healy reported Sunday.

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